Wise Words About Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the last to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist, or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Once it is decided that wisdom teeth need to be removed, the patient can elect to have them removed all at once or one or two at a time. While you do not need to remove all wisdom teeth at the same time, doing so can reduce the overall recuperation time since the patient will only have to recover once versus multiple times. Depending on the complexity of the extractions, surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, where the patient is fully awake; under general anesthesia, fully asleep; or with light sedation combined with local anesthesia.
After surgery, it is important to remember the DOs and DON’Ts of recovery:
· Rest the day of and day after surgery; plan on half-speed the third day.
· Place ice on jaws for 72 hours as directed.
· Have plenty of soft foods in the fridge.
· Smoke, dip, or chew tobacco.
· Use drinking straws.
· Use alcohol or mouthwash.
· Lift, bend, strain, or play sports.
All DON’Ts apply for seven days post-surgery.